Battle Mountain boys basketball defeats Vail Mountain School in rivalry game
EAST VAIL —The Battle Mountain boys basketball team defeated upvalley rival Vail Mountain School, 47-32, on Thursday night on the Gore Rangers’ home court in a non-league game.
The Huskies were able to remain ahead of the Gore Rangers throughout the game, establishing their lead during a low-scoring first half that gave them a five-point lead at 17-12. Senior captain Whit Hyde led the way for the Huskies in the first half with 10 points, including the only 3-pointer in the half.
Both teams incurred regular turnovers from charges and travels, but it was the home team that suffered most greatly from missed opportunities. The Gore Rangers went 0-for-10 at the free throw line in the first half and only 6-for-11 in the second half. Had they been made, the 15 missed points would have been exactly enough to close the gap with their opponents.
Following a quiet start, the court heated up after halftime with both teams racking up the most points of the game in the third quarter. Battle Mountain sophomore Jose Madero had seven points in the third — going 2-for-2 on free throws and sinking a 3-pointer — followed closely by Vail Mountain School’s Trevor Donovan with six points in the quarter.
The Huskies carried a healthy 33-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Vail Mountain School battled back to make it a redeemable 37-32 game, led by a 3-pointer from senior Tommy Steele and a solid free-throw performance from junior Christian Mills.
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Just when it seemed the Gore Rangers could possibly contend for the lead, Battle Mountain turned up the intensity and went on a 10-point run to close out the game 47-32.
Battle Mountain head coach Joe Lundstrom said that it was the Huskies’ aggression on defense that enabled them to get enough opportunities to keep the lead, and that they will lean on strong defensive performance in the challenging games ahead in their schedule.
“My kids, we struggle offensively, but these kids play elite defense and we’ve been playing elite defense all year,” Lundstrom said. “Sometimes people struggle to score, we turn the ball over too much, but tonight we put it all together.”
Vail Mountain School head coach Caleb Florence said that his team is still developing as players adjust to new roles and that building confidence will be key to capitalizing on opportunities that they missed on Thursday.
“We came out slow and I think that they are a well coached team that took advantage of some mistakes on the offensive end,” Florence said. “Our theme is still going to be one game at a time. We have a younger team this year, some newer guys stepping up into some bigger roles in comparison to previous years, and we’re hoping to put them in a position to be successful and build confidence to compete.”